Protein powders are one of the ways athletes, dieters choose to add extra nutrition to their diet. They do so in the hope of increasing muscle gains, stay full longer for weight loss, bulking up their food for weight gain.
While there are several protein options out there, health professionals even recommend a few of them Hemp protein seems to be a popular choice amongst the plant-based community.
The apparent reasons are, hemp protein is delicious with a nutty taste, it is a high-quality plant-based protein with all the nine essentials amino acids. Hemp protein also has minerals and fiber. Lastly, it is not as chalky as rice protein.
Why is hemp protein considered a complete protein source?
Hemp protein is considered a complete protein source because of all the nine essentials amino acids. We, as humans, need to get all of them from food.
First of all, the nine amino acids we are referring to are: Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
What are they exactly? What are their health benefits?
The amino acids are the base blocks of protein that play essential roles in our bodies for optimal health.
They interact in the synthesis of hormones.
Going back to chemistry class, amino acids are organic compounds. Nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and other stuff are their building blocks.
Our body apparently needs 20 of them to function the way it is supposed to. Out of those 20 amino acids, 9 of them are essentials. Unfortunately, our body can not produce those 9 essential amino acids, hence the need to get them through diet.
We get enough amino acids through the absorption of protein. Meat, eggs, and poultry are considered the best sources of amino acids, although it is debatable in the light of new studies on the benefits of a plant-based diet. Primarily, once the protein is broken down into amino acids, the body processes them to build and repair muscles, and regulate or boost our immune system.
Here is an overview of what each of them does:
-Phenylalanine interferes in the structural proteins and enzymatic functions. It also helps in the process of making other amino acids.
-Threonine plays essential roles in structural proteins like collagen and elastin, which are critical components in the skin and connective tissue. Threonine interferes with fat metabolism and immune function.
-Methionine is essential for metabolism and detox. It contributes in the absorption of minerals like zinc and calcium and contributes to tissue growth.
-Valine has three branched-chain amino acids. Valine helps in muscle growth, repair, and energy production.
-Tryptophan helps in establishing nitrogen balance.
-Leucine is critical in the systemization of protein and muscle repair. It helps regulate insulin levels. It encourages healing and the production of growth hormones.
–Histidine produces histamine. It is a neurotransmitter that interferes with functions like immune response, digestion, and sleep-wake cycles. It helps in maintaining the myelin sheath.
-Lysine has parts in protein synthesis, hormonal and enzymatic production and facilitates the absorption of calcium.
–Isoleucine helps in muscle metabolism. It’s also crucial for immune function and the production of hemoglobin.
It bares to note that a deficiency in essentials amino acid could lead to degradation of the body. As you can see, they play significant roles in muscle growth and metabolism.
Now that we took a quick look at each of them, what health benefits will we get for supplementing them with products like hemp protein?
They can boost exercise performance by alleviating muscle fatigue and speed muscle recovery.
You won’t magically stop feeling sore after an intense workout, but you will push through and recover sooner.
Amino acids are also effective at helping weight loss. They do so by stimulating fat burn. Also, don’t forget the act of ingesting a shake made of hemp protein powder or seeds along with other fruit and vegetables obviously helps at keeping us full longer due to all of the fiber.
But where do you get amino acids?
Like We mentioned earlier, meat, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs are complete sources of amino acids.
But for plant-based eaters, buckwheat, quinoa, hemp, and soy are great alternatives and nothing to sneeze at! Unfortunately, while beans and nuts are excellent sources of plant-based protein, they only contain a few of the amino acids which make them incomplete.
To err on the cautious side, eating a variety of protein from different sources is highly recommended.
Let’s go back to hemp protein, shall we?
While hemp protein has the 9 essential amino acids, it, unfortunately, has a meager amount of lysine. Which kind of suck, truthfully!
On the same note, one serving of raw hemp protein powder, which is roughly 1/4 of a cup or 30 grams contains:
- 110 calories
- 15 grams of protein
- 7 grams of fiber
- Manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, niacin, thiamin, traces of vitamin E, and calcium.
It all depends on the brand, and whether or not you get hulled or unhulled hemp protein powder.
For the clean eaters, choosing the raw, unrefined hemp protein powder is a better choice compared to soy or pea protein.
As referred to earlier, hemp protein is a decent source of fiber. Fiber benefits healthy gut bacteria, digestion, and regulates blood sugar.
Hemp seeds also have the right amount of unsaturated fats such as omega-6 and omega-3 acids. By the way, they are excellent for your heart health.
Because of all that fiber, hemp protein is easy to digest.
It is packed with antioxidants and essential minerals. One serving of raw hemp protein powder contains a whopping 225 percent RDV of Manganese, 80 percent of iron, 90 percent of magnesium, 33 of copper, 24 percent of vitamin B6, 30 percent of B1, 40 percent of phosphorus.
Antioxidants are what keep a body from oxidative damage, which causes aging, chronic illness, diabetes, and heart diseases.
Ok, now you might think: that’s all great but it might tastes horrible!
Well, it depends on your expectations! If you buy it thinking it’s going to taste as good as the sugar-loaded shakes on the market, you probably going to hate it!
It’s definitely not the sexiest looking thing on the planet. In fact, hemp protein is a greenish-brown powder. It has an undertone of nut or grassy taste to it that can be easily hidden with some cacao powder and fruits like strawberries. Trust me, with all of the great health benefits, it is worth the time to let it grow on you.
It’s not so great blended just by itself in water or plant-based milk.
Start with a little, see if you like it before investing in a big jar.
A few words of caution!
So, before you go buy the mammoth size jar of hemp protein, remember it might cause gassiness, bloating, and diarrhea if you are not used to ingesting a large amount of fiber. Please ensure you are not allergic and check with your physician if you are pregnant, a nursing woman, anemic, and have sort of auto-immune diseases.
While it is generally safe, it never hurts to be careful!
To finish, here are a few hemp protein recommendations:
Sources used for this article:
- US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
- US National Library of Medicine
- The University of Arizona – The Biology project
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